On Thursday, we had to say goodbye to one of our beloved kitties. People who don't have pets will never understand how a little 15 lb. furball can worm it's way into your heart and become a part of your family. Those who have pets probably have tears in their eyes right now.
Let me tell you Xander's story...
One day in May 2003, Lulu, Buddy, & I went to PetsMart to get something for Gracie (our St. Bernard who went to heaven in 2006). We wandered over to the adoptable animals to see the kitties. In one of the bottom crates, there was a skinny little tiger kitty with big green eyes that looked like they were rimmed with black eyeliner. He came over to us and we petted and talked to him. There was just something about him. Of course, Buddy and Lulu wanted to adopt him, but I figured there was no way Gus was going to go for that, especially since we had a big dog at home. As I was trying to decide what to do, a lady walked in and headed right for that tiger kitty. We were so afraid that she was going to take him before we could make a decision! But that kitty turned around and went inside his little kitty house and refused to come out for her. She coaxed & coaxed, but he just ignored her. When she left, we went back in and walked over to his crate. He came right out of the house and loved all over us again. I decided then & there that he had chosen us, so I called Gus and got the okay. Skinny 4-year-old Tigger became Xander and had a new home.
It didn't take him any time at all to fatten up, which earned him his nicknames of "Fatty" (which he answered to) and "Fat Boy". My personal favorite was "Fatty McGillikitty". He didn't care what you fed him, but he wanted it served on time, thank you very much.
He definitely was a lap cat. He would sit on your lap all day long if you'd let him. If you petted him, he'd love you forever. Eventually, we got two other cats and a new dog. Fatty hated them all and tried to pick fights. He was officially a grumpy old man.
For some reason, his "squeaker" was broken. He would open his mouth to meow and the first few seconds were silent, and then there would be a garbled "owww". It was always pretty amusing to us - but from the look on his face, he found it less so.
He had a few favorite toys - a black & white Beanie Baby tiger, a 7" stuffed penguin, and a 10" stuffed dog. He would somehow manage to carry these things in his mouth, down the stairs to the living room, where he would proceed to clean them like babies. Then he would roll over on his back, hold them with his front paws and kick at them with his back feet, essentially killing them. Then he would clean them again.
He had a fuzzy pink bed that he loved. Well, he either loved it or he just didn't want the other cats to use it. With Fatty, you were never sure - and it was probably a little of both.
About 5 weeks ago, Lulu noticed that he had a lump on his back. The vet confirmed that it was cancer, and he wasn't a candidate for surgery. Over the next 4 weeks, the tumor more than quadrupled in size. This past week, he had trouble standing and walking, and he really didn't want to play. He tried to sleep a lot, but he even seemed to have problems sleeping. The one thing that didn't change was his appetite. Nothing came between Fatty & his food.
So now he's keeping Gracie company in heaven - or more than likely picking a fight with her - and there is an empty pink bed in our house and a hole in our hearts. There may be no tears in heaven, but there sure are a lot here. RIP, Xander...we love you.